Review of "Perfection" by Julie Metz
By Gayle Gardner Lin
Once in a while, it's good to step outside of the box. When the incomparable Melissas gave me a chance to do a review here, I asked if I could diverge from the norm and they so graciously granted me permission. While I enjoy the books that usually are considered chick lit, more frequently I choose my books from the mainstream so that I'm exposed to different styles of writing, hoping I will learn something. I try to rationalize my desire to wander by telling myself that chick lit should encompass anything that speaks in a chick's voice or is crucial to a chick's growth. So today I will tell you about "Perfection" by Julie Metz.
First of all, "Perfection" is not fiction; it's a memoir, with all names changed except Julie's and the dog, Rebel. Perfectly written, with sentences that are so beautiful I often reread them, this book is so filled with raw emotion and heartache that I found myself tied in knots as I cheered Julie on to finding some peace.
Julie Metz was married and had a young daughter. Her husband of thirteen years was half Korean and extremely handsome. (For those of you who know me, you know I'm partial to anything Asian since Dear Departed was Chinese and my beautiful children are half-breeds.)
While Julie's marriage wasn't perfect ... and whose is? ... it appeared so to the host of friends the couple had. Henry (not his real name) loved to cook and frequently hosted large dinner parties to show off his skills.
Both Julie and Henry were writers and worked from separate rooms in their home. Julie tended to stay close to the nest, partially because of their daughter, while Henry often left the house to go to the gym, to get coffee, to research his material for his next book which was not progressing past hastily scrawled notes.
When Henry was forty-four years old, he dropped dead in their kitchen and Julie was devastated. She went through the first six months of grief in what appeared to be the normal steps of grieving. Then her world imploded.
While friends had tried to help her after Henry's death by going through his computer and trying to find if there was anything Julie needed to address in a timely manner, they discovered Henry was not the man they thought he was. He had a different side and it wasn't nice. They found evidence of many affairs, one of which involved one of the women in their inner circle.
After six months, one of the friends decided Julie should know the truth. The next six months of Julie's life she was on a mission. She became obsessed (my word) with finding out everything she could about these affairs, particularly about the other women who were involved. She called all the women who were implicated in email messages and Henry's computer journal. With most of the women, she found that one didn't know he was married; one knew but learned her lesson and swore to never again date a married man; she even became email friends with a couple of these people. All of her hatred was centered on one woman from her group of friends. She knew; their daughters were friends; she was often in Julie's home. Nobody would have suspected her because she was such a good church-going Christian. I cheered for Julie when she finally confronted this woman.
Then she decided to get back into the dating game and made numerous mistakes along the way which she describes in detail. She corresponded with an expert on human sexuality and I learned many interesting facts from that correspondence.
Read this wonderful book and see where Julie is today. I give "Perfection" five stars.
Gayle Gardner Lin is the mother of five adult children and the grandmother of seven younger people. She's an avid reader who reviews books for her friends who depend on her for a good read. She's dependent on supplemental oxygen due to COPD, but still finds much joy in life.
If you need proofreading and minor editing, she's available at a reasonable introductory rate of $20/hr. You can contact her through Facebook.
You too can become a guest book reviewer. Just let us know what book you'd like to review and we can discuss further. E-mail us for more details.